Delayed gratification is the courage to give up short-term pleasure for long-term success. As opposed to instant gratification, delayed gratification is the sacrifice you make when you postpone a reward or satisfaction for later compensation.
Research has shown that successful people have the ability to delay short-term reward for long-term gain. Professor Walter Mischel from Columbia University conducted experiments to assess the ability of four-year-old children to delay gratification. Children were given one marshmallow and told that they would get an additional one if they did not eat it within 15 minutes. Tracer studies, conducted later on, showed that those children who were able to delay gratification were more successful in school, business and life.
Indeed, self-discipline and an ability to wait are vitally important qualities that determine long-term success in both our business and personal lives. Saving money, university studies, and sacrifices at work and in the family – these are all examples of delayed gratification. The greatest leaders, strategists and businessmen definitely had this quality – they have all been able to sacrifice short-term pleasures for long-term goals. Nelson Mandela, Warren Buffet and Mahatma Gandhi are some great examples from recent times.
Let your greatest gratification be delayed gratification. Awaken your potential and welcome your future knowing that the power of delayed gratification is within you. Consider the reward and the pleasure you are giving up now as a seed you are sowing for the future you so desire; a sacrifice for your preferred outcome. After all, success in life comes through sacrifices – not merely one or two, but many. You will be surprised how much you can do and how much better you will become if you will hold back on some indulgences or develop some new skills at the expense of immediate conveniences.
Every time you delay gratification, you earn credits that accumulate and repay sacrifice multiple times in the future. The evidence can be seen in the lives of Mother Teresa, Gandhi, Mandela and every other truly great individual. Unsuccessful people are not capable of making sacrifices. They are immature, self-centered – driven by fear and greed. They want every reward they can get here and now. Just like children, they have a mentality of entitlement – they think that their employer, the government, this person or that person owes them something.